Mission Impossible: Fallout Review
Tom Cruise may be in his mid-fifties but there is no slowing down the Mission Impossible franchise. Mission Impossible: Fallout, the sixth film in the series, brings plenty of excitement which fans have come to expect: high speed chases through iconic cities, a nail-biting race against a countdown clock, and spy thriller twists.
After choosing to save his teammates Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) instead of securing three plutonium-powered orbs, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) must work with CIA operative August Walker (Henry Cavill) to retrieve the nuclear devices. While undercover, Hunt makes a deal with the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby) to obtain the stolen orbs but the price may be more than he bargains for. On Hunt’s tail is British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) whose true motive is mysterious.
Mission Impossible: Fallout ties together story threads and characters from the previous films. Familiar faces return which gives this long standing franchise continuity as well as some closure. At the heart of Mission Impossible is of course Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Although there may be a time when Mission Impossible will reboot without Cruise, this is the actor’s most bankable role and he likely has at least another Mission Impossible film in him. What makes Hunt a principled character is that he’s not willing to sacrifice one innocent person to save a million people. Hunt’s core principle is tested in many entertaining scenarios.
Hunt’s team members Benji and Luther both get a decent amount of screen time and moments where they show why they are invaluable. A lot of the lighter banter comes from these two and their comedic touches fit in quite well with the movie’s focus on action. Fans responded overwhelmingly positive to Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) in Rogue Nation so it’s a no brainer to bring her back for more ass kicking and triangle-choking. Ilsa takes on some characteristics of the femme fatale although she isn’t portrayed as a seductress nor use coercive lies to get her way. Her actions consistently show where her allegiance lies.
New to the series is White Widow. She’s alluring and as her name suggests is deceptively deadly. Vanessa Kirby takes a small supporting role and makes it feel cinematic when she’s on screen. Agent Walker (Cavill), another newcomer, plays off of Hunt fairly well, though he could use a bit more charisma to make their dynamic more fun. One of the best scenes involve Hunt and Walker in a bathroom brawl. It’s a great example of how to combine a playful tone along with intense, brutal fighting.
As with many summer blockbuster action films, there will be moments of incredulity where the laws of physics are temporarily suspended. However, for the most part Director Christopher McQuarrie deserves credit for making the action sequences look impressively real through use of practical stunt work and the way the film is shot. One thrilling camera shot is simply Tom Cruise sprinting at top speed across the Paris rooftops with no-CGI or stunt actor involved. It’s good old fashion action cinematography with a modern feel. The physical feats that the characters pull off appear realistic too in that they make mistakes or fail on the first attempt.
For those versed in spy thrillers, particularly in the Mission Impossible franchise, the twists aren’t that hard to spot and figure out in advance. Further, Fallout takes its time to set things up before hitting upon the first lengthy action scene, but when it comes the ride doesn’t stop until the end.
It’s remarkable that the first Mission Impossible film starring Tom Cruise premiered way back in 1996. Cruise as Ethan Hunt is still going on strong while the latest films featuring spy agents James Bond and Jason Bourne didn’t live up to expectations. Consistency pays offs as does managing expectations. Don’t go in expecting something that the Mission Impossible films have never been. Neither is Mission Impossible: Fallout the best spy action film in history as some reviews are touting. It is however a good benchmark in the franchise that should be enjoyed in the theaters. And the box office success means that Cruise will in all probability return again as Ethan Hunt.